Kaisa Varis

Kaisa Varis (born 21 September 1975, in Ilomantsi) is a retired Finnish cross-country skier and biathlete. Her career has been marred by doping convictions: as a cross-country skier, she was involved but not suspended in a doping scandal and in 2003 she was suspended two years for doping use. After her suspension, she returned as a biathlete in 2007, but in 2008 she received a lifetime ban from all International Biathlon Union competitions after another positive doping test. However, her lifetime ban was overturned in March 2009 because the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the IBU failed to adhere to correct testing procedures; she remains eligible to compete in biathlon.

Kaisa Varis
Country Finland
Born (1975-09-21) 21 September 1975 (age 45)
Ilomantsi, Finland
Ski clubJoensuun Hiihtoveikot
World Cup career
Seasons19962003, 20052006
Individual wins2
Team wins2
Indiv. podiums9
Team podiums3
Indiv. starts54
Team starts11
Overall titles0 – (8th in 2000)
Discipline titles0


Cross-country skiingEdit

In cross-country skiing, Varis competed from 1995 to 2006. Her biggest success was the win of the bronze medal in the 15 km at the 2001 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, but she is better known for her doping controversies at those championships: Varis was part of the 4 × 5 km relay that was disqualified when fellow skiers Virpi Kuitunen and Milla Jauho were disqualified for taking hydroxyethyl starch, a banned blood plasma expander. Varis was originally implicated, but later was cleared in this scandal.[citation needed]

Varis's best individual finish at the Winter Olympics was fourth in the 15 km at Salt Lake City in 2002. She also has ten individual career victories at various distances from 1998 to 2002.

Two years after the first doping incident, at the 2003 World Championships in Val di Fiemme, she was suspended for five days before the event's start due to a high hemoglobin count, though was allowed to compete when a second test came back five days later with a lower count. Varis attended the 30 km event, but was later disqualified for taking EPO, an endurance-enhancing drug, and served a two-year suspension as a result.[2][3]

Though she qualified, she did not compete in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, because she was excluded by Finland's Olympic committee.[4]


Varis switched from cross-country skiing to biathlon and made her debut in the Biathlon World Cup on March 2, 2007, in Lahti, Finland, by finishing 70th in the 7.5 km sprint race. On November 30, 2007, she finished fifth in the 7.5 km sprint event in Kontiolahti. On January 11, 2008, Varis scored her first victory in a biathlon World Cup race in the 7.5 km sprint event in Ruhpolding, Germany,[4] but it was later voided because of her positive doping test.

On January 24, 2008, it was made public that at least the A sample from a test for prohibited substances on January 6 had again tested positive for EPO. Varis denied any doping.[5] However, on January 31, 2008, the IBU announced, that the B sample confirmed the results; due to this case, the Finnish Biathlon Association did not register Varis for the 2008 World Championships.[6] Despite her first ban coming as a cross-country skier, she was considered a repeat offender by the IBU Executive Board and banned from the sport for life on February 11, 2008.[7][8]

In March 2008 she announced her intention to appeal to overturn the ban.[9] In March 2009, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the International Biathlon Union had violated Varis' rights under the World Anti-Doping Agency's code by refusing to allow her or a representative to be present when her backup sample was opened for testing. Because of that, her backup sample could not be used as evidence against her, and her ban was overturned.[10]

Cross-country skiing resultsEdit

All results are sourced from the International Ski Federation (FIS).[11]

Olympic GamesEdit

 Year   Age   10 km  15 km  Pursuit  30 km   Sprint   4 × 5 km 
2002 26 4 12 23 7

World ChampionshipsEdit

  • 1 medal – (1 bronze)
 Year   Age   5 km  10 km  15 km  Pursuit  30 km  Sprint   4 × 5 km 
1999 23 N/A 44 N/A
2001 25 N/A 7 Bronze 6 CNX[a] DSQ
2003 27 N/A DNS DSQ DSQ
a. 1 Cancelled due to extremely cold weather.

World CupEdit

Season standingsEdit

 Season   Age  Season standings
Overall Distance Long Distance Middle Distance Sprint
1996 20 NC N/A N/A N/A N/A
1997 21 NC N/A NC N/A
1998 22 71 N/A 45 N/A
1999 23 34 N/A 48 N/A 25
2000 24 8 N/A 4 8 25
2001 25 12 N/A N/A N/A
2002 26 25 N/A N/A N/A 73
2003 27 26 N/A N/A N/A
2005 29 NC NC N/A N/A
2006 30 70 53 N/A N/A

Individual podiumsEdit

  • 2 victories
  • 9 podiums
No. Season Date Location Race Level Place
1 1999–00 8 January 2000   Moscow, Russia 15 km Individual F World Cup 1st
2 3 March 2000   Lahti, Finland 1.2 km Sprint F World Cup 3rd
3 11 March 2000   Oslo, Norway 30 km Individual C World Cup 3rd
4 17 March 2000   Bormio, Italy 5 km Individual C World Cup 3rd
5 18 March 2000   Bormio, Italy 10 km Pursuit F World Cup 3rd
6 2000–01 25 November 2000   Beitostølen, Norway 10 km Individual C World Cup 2nd
7 29 November 2000   Beitostølen, Norway 5 km Individual F World Cup 1st
8 2002–03 12 January 2003   Otepää, Estonia 15 km Mass Start C World Cup 3rd
9 25 January 2003   Oberhof, Germany 10 km Mass Start C World Cup 3rd

Team podiumsEdit

  • 2 victories
  • 3 podiums
No. Season Date Location Race Level Place Teammates
1 2000–01 25 November 2000   Beitostølen, Norway 4 × 5 km Relay C/F World Cup 1st Manninen / Jauho / Kuitunen
2 2002–03 19 January 2003   Nové Město, Czech Republic 4 × 5 km Relay C/F World Cup 3rd Välimaa / Saarinen / Hietamäki-Pienimäki
3 2005–06 15 January 2005   Val di Fiemme, Italy 4 × 5 km Relay C/F World Cup 1st Saarinen / Kuitunen / Roponen

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Teammates Milla Jauho and Virpi Kuitunen tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and the team was disqualified.
  2. ^ "Finnish skier fails drugs test". BBC NEWS. 2003-03-14.
  3. ^ Zinser, Lynn; Macur, Juliet (2006-02-11). "Pomp and Unsettling Circumstances Open Games". New York Times.
  4. ^ a b "Kaisa Varis of Finland, banned twice for doping, wins first biathlon World Cup event". International Herald Tribune. 2008-01-11.
  5. ^ "Finnish biathlete Kaisa Varis tested positive for doping in World Cup event". International Herald Tribune. 2008-01-24.
  6. ^ "Establishment of Adverse Analytical Finding in the Case of Ms Kaisa Varis/Finland" (Press release). International Biathlon Union. 2008-01-30. Archived from the original on 2008-02-03.
  7. ^ "Biathlete Varis faces life ban threat". CNN. 2008-01-31.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Case Kaisa Varis" (Press release). International Biathlon Union. 2008-02-11. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16.
  9. ^ "Doper Lodges Appeal". Eurosport. 2008-03-18.
  10. ^ Finnish Biathlete Avoids Lifetime Ban SI.com, March 15, 2009
  11. ^ "VARIS Kaisa". FIS-Ski. International Ski Federation. Retrieved 21 December 2019.

External linksEdit